SSoIH Databank of Hobo Signs and soucres.

We have over 380 hobo signs that we have gathered over time. When possible we have the source listed.
Not all signs are listed alphabetical but grouped by likeness.

SSoIH Hobo Sign Lookup

Search on a sign name or common word in the description across multiple Hobo Signs.

Hobo Sign:


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A - back to top ↑

Afraid
Occupants are timid.
square, rectangleGeneric Internet
[afraid, scared, timid, beg]

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #30

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #79

No Alcohol Town
The ladle is upside down.
rectangle, lineGeneric Internet
[alcohol, booze, liquor]
No Alcohol Town
Dry Town - dipper inverted.
rectangle, lineJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[alcohol, booze, liquor]
Dry Town
This symbol took the shape of an upside down cup and said that this town did not sell or allow alcohol.
Don't try to buy it or even display it if you had it.
rectangle, lineOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[alcohol, booze, liquor]
Prohibition Town
This is a prohibition town.
cup, mug, Letter T, letter o, letter cA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[alcohol, booze, liquor]
Town Allows Alcohol
The ladle is right side up.
rectangle, lineGeneric Internet
[alcohol, booze, liquor]
Alchohal In This Town

SSoIH Note: "Alchohal" is how alcohol is spelled in his book.
rectangle, lineTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #27


[alcohol, booze, liquor]
Alcohol In This Townrectangle, lineHenry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #33

[alcohol, booze, liquor]
Alcohol In This Town
(An upright dipper) There is alcohol in this town.
An inverted dipper warns of impending temperance.
rectangle, lineStan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #49

[alcohol, booze, liquor]
Many Blind Pigsrectangle, lineJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[alcohol, booze, liquor]
Alcohol In This Town
This symbol shows an open mug which means that this town serves alcohol.
This same symbol without showing the top, would mean that this town is a “dry” town.
cup, mug, ovalOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[alcohol, booze, liquor]

See also - The Inter-mountain Farmer and Ranchman - 1902
This Town Has
Saloons
This town has saloons.
cup, mug, Letter TA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[alcohol, booze, liquor]
Alms Given
[Paris, France 1912]
An open hand, with two arrows pointing in opposite ways, informs the wandering beggar that alms are given in those houses marked by the ciphers in front of the arrow heads.
hand, arrows, lines, numbersNew York Tribune - 1912
[french, food, handout]
Angel
Angel at mission
too sympathetic welfare worker.
person, man, woman, lines, squares, rectangles, linesJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[angel, mission, food, lodging]
Hobos Arrested On Sight

Stan Richards describes "(handcuffs) The Police here frown on hobos."

Henry Dreyfuss describes "Police here frown on hobos"
circles, Letter OGeneric Internet
[hobo, arrest, jail, law, warning]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #30

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #52
Dont Give Up
Police Frown On Hoboes

Dan Beard describes "Persevere"
circles, Letter OTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #48

[hobo, arrest, jail, law, warning]

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #31

Police Will Lock You Up
Avoid places where you see this sign. For no reason at all, police will arrest you and put you in jail to either keep favor with townspeople
or to add you to their own private free labor work force.
circles, Letter OOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[hobo, arrest, jail, law, warning]
Hostile Cops
police bracelets or "jewelry"
(handcuffs)
circles, Letter OJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[hobo, arrest, jail, law, warning]
Go Around
This Town
The bad experience of others was communicated through the display of this symbol.
It meant to take the long way around or trouble was sure to happen.
bent arrow,curved arrowOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[go around, way, direction, travel]

B - back to top ↑

Go To Back DoorRectangle, square, house, lines, windowsThe Great Falls Leader - 1889
[food, beg]
Can Sleep In Barnsmily face, circles, Letter OGeneric Internet
[food, travel, lodging, sleep, camp, loft]
Sleep In Barn
Sleep In Hayloft
There were many variations of this symbol but should a hobo discover one,
they would know that either by sneaking or asking permission,
the barn or hayloft was a good place to sleep or escape foul weather.

Henry Dreyfuss describes "You can sleep in hayloft"
Letter T, curvy, circle, Letter OOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[food, travel, lodging, sleep, camp]

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #34
You may sleep in
the hayloft here.
Letter T, curvy, triangle

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #5

[food, travel, lodging, sleep, camp]
You may sleep in
the hay loft here.
Letter T, curvy, triangle

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #39

[food, travel, lodging, sleep, camp]
You Can Sleep
In The Loft
curves, triangle, lineGeneric Internet
[food, travel, lodging, sleep, camp, barn]

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #7

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #35
Allowed To Spend Night In Hayloftcurves, triangle, line, Letter TThe Havre Herald - 1908
[food, travel, lodging, sleep, camp, barn]
Be Bold Here&, and, Letter S, line, angle, ampersandThe Great Falls Leader - 1889
[bold, beg, story]
Get Bread Here
Hobos became very good misers and learned to making much out of little.
Even the less fortunate of homes generally could spare a slice of stale bread or leftover rolls.
If a bread symbol could be found, the chance of assembling a meal of simple ingredients was a chance of a full belly
oval, linesOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[food, bread]
This House To Be
Burglarised
lines, fenceThe Great Falls Leader - 1889
[thief, rob, steal, yegg]

C - back to top ↑

Camp Here

Henry Dreyfuss describes "You can camp here"

Dan Beard describes "You may camp here"
Letter U, cup, squareGeneric Internet

[camp, jungle, safe]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #4

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #13

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #38

You May Camp HereLetter U, cup, squareTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #49

[camp, jungle, safe]
Safe CampLetter X, eyes, table, hour glassGeneric Internet
[camp, jungle, safe]

See also - The Spokane Press - 1910

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #9

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #77

Safe Camp
Good Water
Letter X, circles, table, wavy line, Letter OGeneric Internet
[camp, jungle, safe]
Fresh Water
Safe Camp
Letter X, circles, table, wavy line, Letter OHenry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #14

[camp, jungle, safe]
Safe Camp
Good Water
Miles between towns were often many. It could take days to reach your next destination.
Finding a safe place to camp undisturbed that had good clean water nearby and had plenty of firewood made the perfect camp.
Finding this symbol was a relief, especially after a long walk.

Stan Richards describes "Fresh water and a safe campsite."
Letter X, circles, wavy line, Letter OOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[camp, jungle, safe]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #50
Chain Gang3 circles, Letter OGeneric Internet
[chaingang, inmate, jail]
Cheap Town
cheap wages, poor conditions, and so on.
curvy, curve, letter cJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[poor, cheap, town, work, money]
City Detective Here
plus, cross, eyes, letter t, circleA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[cops, police, bulls, officials, eye]
Clothes Here
The letter G means gooseberry or washline, where clothes are left
out all night and the tramp can exchange a dirty shirt for a clean one.
crescent, half circle, letter G, lineThe Stark County Democrat - 1904
[clothes]
Cops Are Active

Stan Richards describes "(An open eye) The authorities
here are alert; be careful."

Terry Fox describes "Town is awake
Police are looking for hoboes"
crescent, half circle, dot, eyeGeneric Internet
[cops, police, bulls, officials, eye]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #12

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #23
Authorities Are Alert
Police and political figures of some towns tried to keep their town hobo free and were constantly on the lookout.
A hobo who was fortunate enough to spot this symbol could save themselves a lot of trouble.

Henry Dreyfuss describes "Authorities here are alert"
crescent, half circle, dot, eyeOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[cops, police, bulls, officials, eye]

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #53
Police Are Alert
Hostile Town - bulls' (police) eyes open.
dots, eyesJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[cops, police, bulls, officials, eye]
Cops Inactive

Stan Richards describes "(A closed eye) This community is realatively
indiferent to a hobo's presence."

Terry Fox describes "Town is asleep and not looking for Hoboes"

Henry Dreyfuss describes "This community indifferent to hobos"
crescent, half circle, dot, eyeGeneric Internet
[cops, police, bulls, officials, eye]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #11

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #41

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #11
Cops Asleep
Slow Burg - bulls' asleep.
crescent, half circle, dot, eyeJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[cops, police, bulls, officials, eyes, asleep]
One Cop Town
stroke below means only night watchman here.
diagonal, line, foward slashJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[cops, police, bulls, officials, eye]
Night Watchman Here Onlydiagonal, line, foward slash, black slashJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[cops, police, bulls, officials, eye]
Will Refuse
but con and you will get
rectangles, squares, letter OThe Sun - 1879
[cowards, give, beg]
Cowards!
Will Give To Get
Rid Of You

Hobos had a tendency to cause fear in some households or places that had little or no protection.
These people would gladly offer food or money rather than deal with the confrontation of a hobo.
rectangles, squares, zigzag, teethOwlcation - All Things Hobo

[cowards, give, beg]

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #46

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #49
Use Threats
Be Aggressive
Two squares overlapping signifies that the tramp can get anything he wants by threatening the occupants.
[France 1921]
rectangles, squares, overlapNew-York Tribune - 1921
[cowards, give, beg]
Courthouse
or
Police Station
circle, spring, spiral, swirlGeneric Internet
[courthouse, judge, official, police station]
Courthousecircle, spring, spiral, swirl

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #124

[courthouse, judge, official, police station]
Court House
Precict Station

SSoIH Note: "Court House" and "Pricict" are as they are listed in the book.
circle, spring, spiral, swirlTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #47

[courthouse, judge, official, police station]
Courthouse

Stan Richards describes "Courthouse, precinct station."
circle, spring, spiral, swirl

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #14

[courthouse, judge, official, police station]
Courthouse

precinct station."
circle, spring, spiral, swirlHenry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #57

[courthouse, judge, official, police station]
Crime Happened Here
Hobos were a superstitious bunch. A code such as this was scrawled where a previous major crime was committed.
It warned that “this” area is a dangerous place.
hashtags, criss cross, fenceOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[crime, major, danger, warning]
Crime Committed Here
A crime has been committed here.
This is not a safe place for strangers.

Henry Dreyfuss describes "Crime committed, not safe for strangers"
hashtags, criss cross, fenceStan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #36

[crime, major, danger, warning]

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #55
A Crime Has Been Committed Herehashtags, criss cross, fence

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #48

[crime, major, danger, warning]

At Crossroad Go This Way
Crossroad
This was a common directional sign that indicated the right direction to go when faced with a cross road or intersection.
Depending on the direction of the line, other hobos could save time and avoid danger.

Terry Fox describes "Next street on the right."

Dan Beard describes "Take this road"
circle, line, Letter QOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[go, way, direction, travel]

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #12

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #7

You'll Get
Cursed Out Here
lines, diagonal, fence, zipperGeneric Internet
[cursed, swear, yell, warning]

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #50
You Will Be Cursed Outlines, diagonal, fence, zipperTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #44

[cursed, swear, yell, warning]
You'll Get
Cursed Out Here
Hobos were regarded in some towns as human trash and took pleasure in demeaning
and verbally insulting any hobo who happened by their way.
The law would take measures against any hobo who retaliated in any way.
lines, diagonal, fence, zipperOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[cursed, swear, yell, warning]

D - back to top ↑

Danger Steer Clearcircles, coins, Letter X, arc, stearThe Great Falls Leader - 1889
[danger, warning, unsafe]
Danger keep Cleartriangle, angle, arrow, letter L, Letter V, arc, stearThe Great Falls Leader - 1889
[danger, warning, unsafe]
This House Dangerouscircles, coins, Letter X, Letter O, pie, pizzaThe Great Falls Leader - 1889
[danger, warning, unsafe]
Danger
...lines crossed by three vertical ones signifies danger.
[France 1921]
hashmark, hashtag, fence, linesNew-York Tribune - 1921
[danger, warning, unsafe]
Pass This House
The simple sign of the cross on the other hand warned the tramp to pass the house, as its occupants are cold and unsympathetic, and have no ears to lend to the plaint of poverty, either real or assumed.
cross, plus sign, letter xEvening Star - 1894
[danger, warning, unsafe, beg]

See also - The Minneapolis Journal - 1905
Bad
No, Do Not
Any time a single carved or drawn round dot was displayed with another symbol, it meant “No, Bad, Do Not,” etc.
In some cases a good symbol could be “corrected” if the message had changed.
dot, circle, Letter OOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[warning, danger, unsafe]
Cranky Woman
or Bad Bulldog
This sign means: "There is a cranky woman or bad bulldog here."
dot, circle, Letter OA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[food, beg, lady, dog, warning, danger]
Dog and/or Danger
D means dog and danger.
rectangle, dotThe Minneapolis Journal - 1905
[unsafe, danger, warning, direction, travel, dog]

See also - New-York Tribune - 1921
Danger

Dan Beard describes "Ill tempered man lives here! Danger!"
Dan also describes that "a circle with a dot in the center has the same meaning among the tramps as a rectanagle with a dot"
rectangle, dotGeneric Internet
[unsafe, danger, warning, direction, travel]

See also - New-York Tribune - 1921

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #38

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #43

Dangerous Neighborhood

Stan Richards describes "This is a dangerous neighborhood."
rectangle, dot, box, lineGeneric Internet
[unsafe, danger, neighborhood, warning, direction, travel]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #38

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #10

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #54

Dangerous Place
This sign was a severe warning to stay away at all cost.
To proceed further would be to risk bodily harm or worse. Move on quickly.
rectangle, dot, box, lineOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[unsafe, danger, neighborhood, warning, direction, travel]
Be Ready To Defend Yourself
Coming across this symbol, a hobo would make sure that he stayed alert for
aggressive behavior amongst other hobos or in areas that frowned upon them.
Any sign of cowardness was an indicator that you were easily overcome and
either robbed or abused.

Terry Fox describes "Be prepared to defend yourself."

Henry Dreyfuss describes "Be prepared to defend yourself"

Dan Beard describes "Be Prepared to Defend Yourself"
Diamond, lineOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[defend, fight, danger, warning]

See also - New-York Tribune - 1921

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #10

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #47

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #49

Defend Yourself
Stan Richards describes "Be prepared to defend yourself."
diamond, line, spear tipGeneric Internet
[defend, fight, danger, warning]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #40
Dishonest Man
Hobos sometimes found that a homeowner or a business would invite them to
work or feed them but after serving, would be quickly run away with no payment of any kind.
Observance of a man who was abusive to his children or witnessing a deceptive behavior would also be disserving
of this symbol being posted near the location to warn others.
crescent, sword, crossOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[dishonest, man, owner, warning, thief]
Dishonest Person
A dishonest person lives here.
crescent, sword, crossStan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #46

[dishonest, man, owner, warning, thief]
Dishonest Man Herecrescent, sword, crossDan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #45

[dishonest, man, owner, warning, thief]
Dishonest Person
A dishonest person lives here.

Henry Dreyfuss describes "Dishonest person lives here"
crescent, sword, crossTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #1

[dishonest, man, owner, warning, thief]

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #48
Direction
The cardinal point of the compass are indicated by the letters N., S., E., W., marked with an arrow, the head pointing in the direction taken.
arrow, Letter N, arrowarrow, Letter S, arrowarrow, Letter E, arrowarrow, Letter W, arrowBrenham Weekly Banner - 1879
[go, way, direction, travel]
Direction
Next Town
These "Diamonds" used in connection with any of the other signs mean next town, east, west, north, south.
Arrows, Name, directionA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[go, way, direction, travel]
Direction
Arrows pointing and indicating the route and
the direction the tramp is rambling.
Arrows, Name, directionA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[go, way, direction, travel]
Direction
The tramp indicates that he intends to go
across the country upon a county road.
Arrows, Name, directionA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[go, way, direction, travel]
DoctorLetter X, face, smileyGeneric Internet
[illness, sick, doctor, help, medicine]

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #97

Doctor
Life on the rails and road was hard and brutal. “Marking” the homes of doctors or even a person with basic medical knowledge
could mean the difference between life or death.
Letter X, face, smileyOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[illness, sick, doctor, help, medicine]
Doctor Here Will
Not Charge
Cross, face, smiley, teethTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #19

[free, illness, sick, doctor, help, medicine]
Doctor
No Charge
Stan Richards describes "A doctor lives here.
He won't charge for his services."
Cross, face, smileyGeneric Internet
[free, illness, sick, doctor, help, medicine]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #41
Doctor Here
Won't Charge
Cross, face, smileyHenry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #31

[free, illness, sick, doctor, help, medicine]
Bad Dog
(Tail Down)
dog, cat, animal, cow, rectangle, circle, square, linesThe Great Falls Leader - 1889
[dog, beware, warning]

See also - New Ulm Review - 1893
Good Dog
(Tail Up)
dog, cat, animal, cow, rectangle, circle, square, linesThe Great Falls Leader - 1889
[dog, beware, warning]

See also - New Ulm Review - 1893
Vicious Dog
A circle with a figure similar to the teeth of a crosscut saw in the center of it indicates an unfriendly dog.
Letter o, number 0, teeth, linesThe Caucasian - 1911
[dog, beware, warning]
DogLetter W, Letter U, teethGeneric Internet
[dog, beware, warning]
Gammy (unfavorable)
Likely to have you taken up. Mind the dog.
Letter L, Letter I, lineJuniata Sentinel - 1877
[dog, beware, warning, bad, jail]
Dog
Look out for the Dog.
letter X, linesThe Sun - 1879
[dog, beware, warning, danger]
Barker
A barker, but not a biter (meaning the dog)
as tramps are generally afraid of this animal).
letter B, lines, circlesThe Sun - 1879
[dog, beware, warning, danger]
Dog / Danger
D means dog and danger.
letter D, curve, linesThe Minneapolis Journal - 1905
[dog, beware, warning, danger]
Beware the Dog
A square having a dot in the center. This means that the premises are permeated by one of those dogs hereinbefore alluded to.
rectangle, square, box, dot, linesEvening Star - 1894
[dog, beware, warning]
Dog
A spiral line traced in a square is the most hated of all indications by vagrants and nomads,
for it is the sign of the presence of a dog.
[Paris, France 1912]
rectangle, squiggle, spiral, box, tableNew York Tribune - 1912
[french, dog, beware, warning]
Dogs In Garden
To keep would-be hobo garden robbers from plucking the vegetables from the garden plot,
dogs would be staked or left free to roam within its boundaries. Hobos who experienced such an unpleasant surprise
would warn others who may have their eye on the ingredients for their evening’s meal.
Letter W, Letter U, Letter N, teethOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[dog, beware, warning]

See also - Dakota Farmers' Leader - 1908
Dog

Dan Beard describes "Bad Dog Here"
rectangle, box, tableGeneric Internet
[dog, beware, warning]

See also - The Tacoma Times - 1911

See also - El Paso Harold - 1914

The Havre Herald - 1908

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #44

Dog
The sign shows the four legged dog in the yard
(sometimes referred to as the garden).
rectangle, box, tableGeneric Internet
[dog, beware, warning]

See also - Perrysburg Journal - 1909

See also - The Kendrick Gazette - 1909

See also - The Inter-mountain Farmer and Ranchman - 1902
Vicious Dog

Henry Dreyfuss describes "Vicious Dog Here"
rectangle, box, tableTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #26

[dog, beware, warning]

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #39
Dog - sign
four legs and a tail.
lines, fenceJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[dog, beware, warning]
Man and Dogs
a square enclosing a picture of teeth means "Men and dogs ready to attack"...
[France 1921]
Letter W, Letter V, Teeth, linesNew-York Tribune - 1921
[dog, beware, warning]
Dog

Henry Dreyfuss describes "Barking Dog Here"
Letter W, Letter V, Teeth, linesGeneric Internet
[dog, beware, warning]

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #38
Mean Dogs Here
This warning was a sign that the dogs on this property were trained specifically to keep unwelcome or unknown people away.
Both their bark and bite were a good reason to take the long way around.
Letter W, Letter V, Teeth, linesOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[dog, beware, warning]
DogLetter W, Letter V, Teeth, linesTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #34

[dog, beware, warning]

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #102

Barking Dog
Two w's connected warn of a barking dog.
Letter W, Letter V, Teeth, linesStan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #6
[dog, beware, warning]
Look Out For Dog
a drawing of sharp teeth means "Look out for the dog"
[France 1921]
Letter W, Letter V, Teeth, linesNew-York Tribune - 1921
[dog, beware, warning]
Beware! Dog
When the tail is down, the dog is mean. When the tail is up the dog is nice.
L, lines, table, 3, 4Generic Internet
[dog, beware, warning]
Beware of
four dogs.
Letter L, lines, table, 3, 4

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #17
[dog, beware, warning]

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #40
Doubtful
This sign means "doubtful"
line, minus, subtraction

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #20
[beg, food, warning]

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #16

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #7

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #57

F - back to top ↑

Bad Fare
B means bad fare.
letter B, circles, linesThe Minneapolis Journal - 1905
[bad, fare, travel, direction]
Firecircle, drip

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #137

[fire station, fire]
Fire Engine House
Indicating a Fire Station.
circle, drip, rectangle

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #125

[fire station, courthouse]
Float
boat. Indicating judge gives hoboes "floaters".
square, rectangle, angle, linesJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[judge, official, courthouse]
Sit Down Feed
Feeds were far and few between at least feeds purposed specifically for hobos.
There were however functions that would tolerate hobos attending such as church gatherings.
When an event such as this was discovered, a hobo would let others know using the table feed code.
table, linesOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[food]

See also - The Daily Morning Journal - 1902
Work for Food
A square with one corner cut off makes the average tramp shudder.
It means that the house in sight is occupied by people who believe in the dignity of labor and
that if he wishes to get assistance from them he must work for it.
square, rectangle, corner, linesEvening Star - 1894
[food, work]
Food for Workplus, cross, line, Letter SGeneric Internet
[food, work]
Food for Workplus, cross, line, Letter SGeneric Internet
[food, work]
Food for Work

Stan Richards describes "Good food is available here,
but you will have to work for it."
plus, cross, line, Letter ZGeneric Internet
[food, work]

See also - The Havre Herald - 1908

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #8
Food Here If You Work

Dan Beard describes "Work for food"
plus, cross, line, Letter ZHenry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #28

[food, work]

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #37

You Can Get Food
Here By Working
plus, cross, line, Letter Z, circle, plusTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #37

[food, work]
Good Restaurant
good feed for dish washing
circle, lines, Letter O, Letter Q, Letter GJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[food, work]
Food for WorkLetter TGeneric Internet
[food, work]

See also - The Spokane Press - 1910

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #31

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #27

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #37

G - back to top ↑

Good GardenRectangle, squares, grid, linesThe Great Falls Leader - 1889
[garden, food]
GentlemanHat, Derby, LineGeneric Internet
[gentleman, wealthy, rich]

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #93

GentlemanHat, Derby, Door, lineGeneric Internet
[gentleman, wealthy, rich]
Gentleman
(A top hat) A gentleman lives here.
Hat, Derby, Door, lineStan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #29

[gentleman, wealthy, rich]
Gentleman
Gentleman lives here.

Henry Dreyfuss describes "A Gentleman Lives Here"
Hat, Derby, Door, lineTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #13

[gentleman, wealthy, rich]

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #23
Insist
two circles, "Insist and they'll give in"
[France 1921]
Circles, Ovals, Letter ONew-York Tribune - 1921
[beg, food, law, arrest, handcuffs, jail, police]
Don't Give UpCircles, Ovals, Letter OGeneric Internet
[law, arrest, handcuffs, jail, police]
Go This Direction
it is better than the other road. Nothing that way.
Letter UJuniata Sentinel - 1877
[go, way, direction, travel]
Chance For Money
A single arrow drawn horizontally through a circle makes it known that cash may be obtained for the asking.
Circle, Arrow, LineThe Caucasian - 1911
[wealth, beg, money, direction]
Go
Go This Way
Stan Richards describes "This way."

Dan Beard describes "Go! March On!"
Circle, Arrow, LineGeneric Internet
[go, way, direction, travel]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #28

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #32

This WayCircle, Arrow, LineHenry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #2

[go, way, direction, travel]
Don't Go This Way

Stan Richards describes "No use going this direction."
Circle, Arrow, LineGeneric Internet
[don't, go, way, direction, travel]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #18

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #3

Walk OnCircle, Arrow, LineTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #4

[don't, go, way, direction, travel]
No Use Going
This Direction
Circle, Arrow, LineHenry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #1

[don't, go, way, direction, travel]

H - back to top ↑

Hailing Signface, hands, finger, thumb, lines, circle, eyesThe Great Falls Leader - 1889
[sign, language]
All Safeastrisk, star, Lines, Letter XThe Great Falls Leader - 1889
[safe, camp, direction, travel]
Charity Given
An ordinary V means "Charity Given"
[France 1921]
Letter V, lines, anglesNew-York Tribune - 1921
[food, handout]

See also - The Minneapolis Journal - 1905
Good for a handout
sign on gate or door.
Letter X, CrossJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[food, handout]
Good place for a handout

Stan Richards describes "This is a good place for a handout."

Henry Dreyfuss describes "Good place for a handout"
Circle, Letter O, Letter X, CrossGeneric Internet
[food, handout]

See also - The Tacoma Times - 1911

See also - Dakota Farmers' Leader - 1908

See also - Perrysburg Journal - 1909

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #51

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #17
No Work But Food
an O and an X meant no work, but food.
At the sign of the OX is a good place to stop.
Circle, Letter O, Letter X, CrossThe Minneapolis Journal - 1905
[food, handout, beg]
Never Fails
A small diamond-shaped chalk drawing on fence or gate post near a house is a gladdening sight to the eyes of Moist Mike or Hungry Henry.
It means that the residents are full of the milk of human kindness and will give food or other assistance when asked, without question.
diamond, linesEvening Star - 1894
[food, handout, beg]

See also - The Inter-mountain Farmer and Ranchman - 1902
Good For Doles
a circle crossed by two diameters in the form of a cross, explains that the applicant would only receive a dole in kind.
[Paris, France 1912]
Circle, Letter O, Letter X, CrossNew York Tribune - 1912
[food, handout]
You Can Get FoodCircle, Letter O, Letter X, CrossSee also - The Kendrick Gazette - 1909
[food, handout]
Eats
(Good for handouts)
[France 1921]
circle, plus, cross, lines, letter xNew-York Tribune - 1921
[food, handout]

See also - The Havre Herald - 1908
Many Handouts
sign near station.
equals, linesJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[food, handout]
Great place for a handout
Homeowners who were perplexed by the increased numbers of hobos knocking on their back door,
were sure to find a symbol like this close to their property. Hobos would share their wealth by letting others know that this was a great source for a meal or money.
Circle, Letter O, Letter X, CrossOwlcation - All Things Hobo

See also - The Coalville Times - 1902
[food, handout]
Help If Sick
If you are ill, these people will help you.
Line, Snake, spiral, wavyGeneric Internet
[illness, sick, hurt, doctor, medicine]
Help If Hurt
Minor injuries or sicknesses could lead to major setbacks for hobos.
It was good to know where to seek help when needed.
Line, cane, Letter ROwlcation - All Things Hobo
[illness, sick, hurt, doctor, medicine]
If Sick Will Care For You

Henry Dreyfuss describes "If you are sick, they'll care for you"
Line, cane, Letter RTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #39

[illness, sick, hurt, doctor, medicine]

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #30
Help if sick

Stan Richards describes "If you are sick,
they will care for you here."
Line, cane, Letter RStan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #10
[illness, sick, hurt, doctor, medicine]
If Sick Will Care For You

SSoIH Note: You can see where the above signs evolved out of this one due to poor drawing skills.
Line, cane, Letter v, Letter r, curly

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #69

[illness, sick, hurt, doctor, medicine]
Well Guarded HouseRectangle, Square, House, DoorGeneric Internet
[house, guarded, warning]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #7
Well Guarded HouseRectangle, Square, House, DoorTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #5

[house, guarded, warning]
Well-Guarded HouseRectangle, Square, House, DoorHenry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #19

[house, guarded, warning]
Well-Guarded HouseRectangle, Square, House, DoorHenry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #20

[house, guarded, warning]
Home Heavily Guarded
Be prepared to be met with aggressive behavior or a guard dog, or gun.
Occupants are usually home and have taken great measures to protect themselves.
Rectangle, Square, House, Door, LineOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[house, guarded, warning]
Hostile ManRectangle, Wavy LineGeneric Internet
[man, bad, hostile, temper]
This House All Righteye, arrow, hand, fingers, thumb, letter xThe Great Falls Leader - 1889
[house, ok, good, beg]
Money, Clothes and FoodLinesThe Sun - 1879
[money, clothes, food, beg]
Housewife Feeds for Chores
(woodpile)
LinesGeneric Internet
[chores, woman, lady, work, food, wood]
Woodpile
meal if you chop wood.
LinesJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[chores, work, food, wood]

I - back to top ↑

I Ate
Letter I, Number 8Generic Internet
[ate, eat, food]
Fake Illness Here
Faking an illness or injury could get a hobo a meal, or a place to rest, or even money depending on how well they could act.
A hobo that fained a nasty cough, for instance, may end up with some money to encourage them to leave.
Letter V, LinesOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[illness, sick, doctor, con, story]

J - back to top ↑

Flummixed
(dangerously)
Sure of a month in "quod" (prison)
letter o, circleJuniata Sentinel - 1877
[jail, prison, yegg, official, police]
Look Out For Policesquare, cross, plus, linesEvening Star - 1894
[jail, prison, official, police]
Handed Over To Police
Jail
square, cross, grid, linesSee also - The Kendrick Gazette - 1909
[jail, prison, official, police]

See also - The Inter-mountain Farmer and Ranchman - 1902
Jail
(yeggs)
yegg is a professional thief

Terry Fox describes "Jail"
Hashmark, Hashtag, Criss Cross, fence, linesGeneric Internet
[jail, prison, yegg, official, police]

See also - The Tacoma Times - 1911

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #28
Beware Of The Cops
A series of lines drawn so as to suggest bars is a warning to beware of the police.
Hashmark, Hashtag, Criss Cross, fence, linesThe Caucasian - 1911
[jail, prison, yegg, official, police]

See also - The Tacoma Times - 1911
Jail Has Cooties
Sometimes by choice hobos would allow themselves to be put in situations that would earn
them jail time in the hopes of getting out of foul weather or for a meal or two.
This symbol warned that the town’s jail was dirty and bug ridden. Not a good lodging choice.
Hashmark, Hashtag, Criss Cross, fence, bugsOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[jail, prison, cooties, bugs, official, police]
Jail Is Vermin Infested
The jail here is vermin infested.
Hashmark, Hashtag, Criss Cross, fence, lines, bugsA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[jail, prison, cooties, bugs, official, police]
Jail Is Unsanitary
With Disease
The jail here is unsanitary, and from it contagious
diseases are spread all over the United States
Hashmark, Hashtag, Criss Cross, fence, lines, bugsA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[jail, prison, cooties, bugs, official, police]
Jail Is OK For Lodging
The City jail here is all right for a warm night's lodging.
eyes, plus sign, cross, house, roofA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[jail, prison, ok, official, police]
Jail Is OK
As a hobo, sooner or later going to jail was inevitable. There were occasions, however, that a hobo would actually “want” to be
locked up for night or two. Sometimes, it was a survival tactic to get a meal or avoid approaching danger.
The trick was to find a jail, get arrested, and most of all, find a jail that was clean and not a danger in itself.
Hashmark, Hashtag, Criss Cross, fence, Letter O, Letter KOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[jail, prison, ok, official, police]
Jail Is OK
The jail here is sanitary and
prisoners are well fed.
Hashmark, Hashtag, Criss Cross, fence, linesA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[jail, prison, ok, official, police]
Jail Is Sanitary
Prisoners starve
The jail here is sanitary,
but they starve their prisoners.
Hashmark, Hashtag, Criss Cross, fence, lines, letter N, Letter GA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[jail, prison, official, police]
Beware of Prison
...a number of lines crossed by others, picturing prison bars.
Hashmark, Hashtag, Criss Cross, fence, linesNew-York Tribune - 1921
[jail, prison, yegg, official, police]
JailHashmark, Hashtag, Criss Cross, fence, lines

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #15
[jail, prison, yegg, official, police]
JailHashmark, Hashtag, Criss Cross, fence, linesHenry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #59

[jail, prison, yegg, official, police]
JailHashmark, Hashtag, Criss Cross, fence, lines

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #122

[jail, prison, yegg, official, police]
Jail
go there for bed.
Hashmark, Hashtag, Criss Cross, fenceJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[jail, prison, yegg, official, police]
This Town Has
A Rock Pile
This town has a rock pile.
triangle, Cross, Letter TA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[jail, prison, official, police, work]
Workhouse Jail
Do your business and leave as quickly as possible. If your timing is bad, you could easily be locked up only to find your self working
long hard hours digging ditches with no pay and no length of stay. Get snagged in one of these situations and you better plan your
escape from the beginning.
Letter W, Letter T, LinesOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[jail, prison, ok, official, police, work]
See also - New Iberia Ent - 1907
This Town Has
A workhouse
This town has a workhouse.
triangle, Cross, Letter WA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[jail, prison, official, police, work]
JudgeSpring, SpiralGeneric Internet
[judge, courthouse, official, police]

See also - The Spokane Press - 1910
Judge Lives Here
Trying to beg or even disturbing the home of a judge or other law official was a good way to get thrown in jail quickly.
Stay away if you see this sign.
Spring, SpiralOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[judge, courthouse, official, police]

See Also - Rosebud County New - 1902
Judge Lives HereSpring, SpiralTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #24

[judge, courthouse, official, police]
Judge Lives HereSpring, SpiralHenry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #56

[judge, courthouse, official, police]
Judge or Magistrate
A judge or magistrate lives here.
Spring, Spiral

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #21
[judge, courthouse, official, police]
Judge
Means Judge or Magistrate
Spring, Spiral

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #95

[judge, courthouse, official, police]
Hostile Judge
Hostile police judge in this town. Look out!
eyes, plus sign, crosses, mouth, eyes, teeth, circle, ovalA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[judge, prison, danger, official, police]

K - back to top ↑

L - back to top ↑

Turn Left Here
Circle, Line, crescent, Letter OGeneric Internet
[left, direction, travel]
Many Ties
(Long Distance)
warning on being ditched with long stretch between stations.
diagonal, Lines, fence, letter IJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[distance, warning, alert, direction, travel]

M - back to top ↑

Man With A Gun
This symbol warned hobos that knocking on the door or
even stepping on the property of this man would be met with a show of hostility. Move quickly, move on.

Stan Richards describes "A man with a gun lives here."

Henry Dreyfuss describes "Man with a gun lives here"

Dan Beard describes "Bad Man With Gun Here"
Triangle, hands, linesOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[man, gun, owner]

See also - The Spokane Press - 1910

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #31

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #2

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #46

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #50

This Town Is Mapped
Look Out For Signs
lines, triangles, Letter V, angleThe Great Falls Leader - 1889
[direction, travel]
Easy Mark

Stan Richards describes "An easy mark, a sucker."

Henry Dreyfuss describes "Easy Mark, Sucker"
Pipe, Letter T, circles, Letter OGeneric Internet
[easy, mark, sucker]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #47

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #41
EasyPipe, Letter T, circles, Letter O

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #82

[easy, mark, sucker]
Mission
good for feed and "flop".
book, squares, rectangles, linesJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[mission, food, lodging]
Gift of Money

St. Andrew's cross represents a gift of money.
[Paris, France 1912]
cross, letter xNew York Tribune - 1912
[french, money, beg]
Good For 25 CentsCircles, Letter O, Letter I, lines, dotsThe Sun - 1879
[coins, money, beg]
Good Chance To Get Money Here
(coins)
Circles, Letter OGeneric Internet
[coins, money, beg]
Get Money Here
(coins)
Circles, Letter OGeneric Internet
[coins, money, beg]

See also - New-York Tribune - 1921
Don't Bother ThemCircles, Letter OThe Sun - 1879
[quiet, beg]
Get Money Here
Give Money Here
[SSoIH Note: The article says "Give money here" we believe it is supposed to be "Get money here".
Circles, Letter OJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[coins, money, beg]
Railroad Ducat
These folks give money for fare.
diamond, square, linesJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[coins, money, beg, fare, ride]
Beware Montana
a warning of the 11 months 29 day sentences imposed there.
lines, eleven, 11, twenty nine, 29, angleJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[jail, prison, sentences, montana, official, police]
Mother With Boy A Hobo
always good for food and clothes; seeks tidings of son.
person, man, woman, lines, angleJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[mother, hobo, beg, food, clothing]

N - back to top ↑

No Good
Too poor and know too much.
Letter XJuniata Sentinel - 1877
[no good, zero, warning, empty]
No GoodLetter XBrenham Weekly Banner - 1879
[no good, zero, warning, empty]
Nothing Here
a vertical line on a house meant
that it was a dead one and nothing could be secured.
Also, a vertical line can idicate a man / male.
Letter I, lineThe Stark County Democrat - 1904
[no good, zero, warning, empty]

See also - The Inter-mountain Farmer and Ranchman - 1902
Coppered
Spoilt
(no good)
Spoiled by too many tramps calling here.
letter v, lineJuniata Sentinel - 1877
[nothing, zero, warning, empty]
Sometimes
A triangle pointed downward indicates that the house it refers to
has been pretty steadily visited by tramps and that its people
may have become tired of the continued assults upon
pantry and patience, but that no harm could ensue from a trial.

Dan Beard describes "Inverted pyramid. Marks roads infested by tramps.
triangle, letter v, linesEvening Star - 1894
[nothing, zero, warning, empty]

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #53

Road is Spoiled
The road is spoiled.
It is full of other hobos and tramps.
triangle, letter v, lines

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #33

[nothing, zero, warning, empty]
Spoiled

Henry Dreyfuss describes "Road Spoiled, full of other hobos"
triangle, letter v, linesTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #50

[nothing, zero, warning, empty]

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #6
NothingZero, Letter O, Oval, CircleTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #51

[nothing, zero, warning, empty]
No Good

Stan Richards describes "There is nothing to be gained here."

Henry Dreyfuss describes "Nothing to be gained here"

Dan Beard describes "No Use"
Zero, Letter O, Oval, CircleBrenham Weekly Banner - 1879
[nothing, zero, warning, empty]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #32

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #12

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #58

Nothing Here
Zero, Letter O, Oval, CircleGeneric Internet
[nothing, zero, warning, empty]

See also - New-York Tribune - 1921

See also - The Tacoma Times - 1911

See also - The Caucasian - 1911

See also - Perrysburg Journal - 1909

See also - The Havre Herald - 1908

See also - The Daily Morning Journal - 1902

See also - The Kendrick Gazette - 1909

See also - The Coalville Times - 1902

See also - The Inter-mountain Farmer and Ranchman - 1902
Nothing Here
Generally when prowling trudgers on a stump have noticed a likely house they leave a hastily scratched imprint with chalk or other material,
which will serve as a clue to wayfarers of the tatterdemalion tribe.
A circle means that the mumper will get nothing.
[Paris, France 1912]
Zero, Letter O, Oval, CircleNew York Tribune - 1912
[french, nothing, zero, warning, empty]
Bum Jane
calls cops, hates hoboes.
Zero, Letter O, Oval, CircleJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[nothing, zero, warning, empty, alerts, police, cops]
Good People
Reside Here
This sign on a fence, post, door, etc.,
means "good people" reside here.
oval, circle, zero, letter oA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[food, beg]
People Do Not Give
Even your best approach won’t work here. Expect a rude response and a strict warning to keep away.
Even a glass of water on a hot day is out of the question.
Zero, Letter O, Oval, Circle, cross, plusOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[nothing, zero, warning, empty]
People Do Not Give
This sign means: "People residing here do not give."
Zero, Letter O, Oval, Circle, cross, plusA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[food, beg]
Cross Man
or Bad Dog
This sign means: "There is a cross man or bad dog here."
Zero, Letter O, Oval, Circle, cross, plusA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[warning, danger, safety, direction, dog, owner]

O - back to top ↑

The Object Of The Journey
A professional burglar will point out the object of his journey by a key crossed by an arrow. [Paris, France 1912]
Arrow, Key, angle, lineNew York Tribune - 1912
[french, thief, direction, travel]
OfficerCross, Plus, LinesGeneric Internet
[cops, police, bulls, officials]

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #40
Alright, OK
Alright, will give up.
Plus, Cross, Letter XGeneric Internet
[alright, ok, beg]

See also - The Spokane Press - 1910
OK
All Right
This sign means "O.K., all right"
Plus, Cross, Letter X

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #27
[alright, ok, beg]

See also - The Spokane Press - 1910

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #16

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #68

A beating awaits you here.lines, angleStan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #25

[keep away, leave, warning, direction, travel]

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #51
You Will Be Beaten

Dan Beard describes "A Blow, A Kick Awaits You Here"
Lines, Angle, Letter TTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #22

[get out, leave, warning, direction, travel]

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #52

Keep Awaylines, angleGeneric Internet
[keep away, leave, warning, direction, travel]
Get Out FastLines, Angle, Letter TGeneric Internet
[get out, leave, warning, direction, travel]
Hit The Road!
Quick
Lines, Angle, Letter T, Letter HHenry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #4

[get out, leave, warning, direction, travel]
Get Out Fast
This town is "strictly hostile".
Get out as quickly as possible!
Letter T, lines, Letter XA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[direction, travel, warning, danger, safety]
Hit The Road!
Quick
Circle, Letter O, ArrowsHenry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #3

[get out, leave, warning, direction, travel]
Advisable to clear out

Stan Richards describes "Hit the road! Quick!"

Dan Beard describes "Hit the trail double quick!
Circle, Letter O, ArrowsBrenham Weekly Banner - 1879
[get out, leave, warning, direction, travel]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #24

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #6

Get Out Fast
One of the more suggestive is composed of a circle crossed by two arrows directed the same way
which urges the initiated to show a clean pair of heels without loss of time.
[Paris, France 1912]
Circle, Letter O, ArrowsNew York Tribune - 1912
[french, get out, leave, warning, direction, travel]

See also - The Tacoma Times - 1911
Get Out Fast
Only enter town if you have too. Get your business done and get out as quick as possible.
This code warned of possible conflict and was a message to keep your head down, try not to be obvious and stick to yourself as you go through town.
Circle, Letter O, ArrowsOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[get out, leave, warning, direction, travel]

See also - El Paso Harold - 1914

See also - The Havre Herald - 1908

See also - The Kendrick Gazette - 1909

See also - The Coalville Times - 1902
Disagreeable People
A circle pierced by two arrows signifies
"poor welcome, disagreeable people".
[France 1921]
Circle, Letter O, Arrows
New-York Tribune - 1921
[get out, leave, warning, direction, travel]
Owner In
Owner Is Home
Letter C, CircleGeneric Internet
[owner, home, in, warning]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #43

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #86

The Owner Is InLetter C, CircleHenry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #21

[owner, home, in, warning]
Owner In
Homeowner Home
Lines, Letter C, Letter HGeneric Internet
[owner, home, in, warning]
InLines, Letter C, circleTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #20

[owner, home, in, warning]
Owner Out
Nobody Home
Letter C, CircleGeneric Internet
[owner, home, out, warning]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #44

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #87

The Owner Is OutLetter C, CircleHenry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #22

[owner, home, out, warning]
OutLetter C, Circle, lineTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #45

[owner, home, out, warning]
Owner Is Out
This symbol could apply to a home or a business where the owner was not present for long periods of time.
This symbol turned in the opposite direction meant that the owner or occupant more than likely was present.
Letter C, CircleOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[owner, home, out, warning]
No One Home
Homeowner Out
Lines, Letter C, Letter HGeneric Internet
[owner, home, out, warning]

P - back to top ↑

Pie In Sight
a circle with a wedge inside of it shows the housekeeper gave a pie to the artist who made the sign.
circle, angle, lines, Letter VThe Caucasian - 1911
[food, beg]
This Is The PlaceBox, Lines, Goal PostGeneric Internet
[camp, jungle, safe, travel, direction]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #22

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #33

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #9

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #88

Police Are Hostile
Many times police and town officials were outwardly and physically aggressive towards any hobo
regardless of his actions. In some cases this was purposefully done to arrest and put the hobo to work for free.
Cross, Eyes, letter X, letter tOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[cops, police, bulls, officials]
Police Are Hostile
The police in this place are "strictly hostile"
cross, eyes, letter x, letter tA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[cops, police, bulls, officials]
Police Are Dead Easy
The police in this place are "dead easy".
cross, eyes, letter x, letter tA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[cops, police, bulls, officials]
Police Officer
Lives Here
Hashmark, hashtag, pound signGeneric Internet
[cops, police, bulls, officials]
Officer Lives Hererectangles, squares, Lines, Letter OThe Sun - 1879
[cops, police, bulls, officials]
Policeman

Stan Richards describes "An officer of the law lives here."
Cross, Lines, Letter TGeneric Internet
[cops, police, bulls, officials]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #13

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #15
Officer Of Law
Lives Here
Cross, Lines, Letter THenry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #58

[cops, police, bulls, officials]
Policeman Lives Here
This sign saved many hobos from making the mistake of knocking on the door of a policeman or other
law officer and end up getting thrown in jail, or worse, a chain gain work crew.
Cross, Lines, Letter TOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[cops, police, bulls, officials]
Policeman Lives Here
Two Lorraine crosses reveal that the people of authority who live in the house must not be irritated.
[France 1921]
Crosses, Lines, Letter TNew-York Tribune - 1921
[cops, police, bulls, officials]
OfficerCrosses, Lines, Letter TDan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #94

[cops, police, bulls, officials]
PolicemanCrosses, Lines, Letter T, swordDan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #96

[cops, police, bulls, officials]
Policewoman Lives Here
Also, Policeman or Official
Hobos found the best “marks” were usually woman. There were times, however, that knocking on the door of a police woman
would end up back firing. Stay away from homes around a home that pointed to any law official.
Cross, Lines, angle, slanted, Letter TOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[cops, police, bulls, woman, officials]

See also - The Havre Herald - 1908
Poor Manwavy line, snake, wavesGeneric Internet
[poor, man, money]

See also - Dakota Farmers' Leader - 1908

See also One Poor Man in the "S" section.
Poor People Live Here
This symbol gained a level of respect from hobos.
They, more than anyone else understood the hardship of life and would not bother homes known to be struggling.
wavy line, snake, wavesOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[poor, man, money]

The Havre Herald - 1908
Profane Placelines, diagonal, fence, zipperBrenham Weekly Banner - 1879
[profane, cursed, swear, yell, warning]

Q - back to top ↑

Bone - (Good)
Safe for "cold tatur", if nothing else. "Cheese your patter" (Don't talk much) here.
letter v, letter a, Arrow, LineJuniata Sentinel - 1877
[good, bone, quiet]
Be Quiet
Move quietly and keep your head down. Walk in the shadows as much as possible
and do not disturb livestock or animals that would announce your presence.
2 diamondsOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[quiet, do not disturb, day sleeper]

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #14
Keep Quiet
Baby Here
One thing that most hobos agreed upon was the protection and respect of young families.
This symbol would remind hobos of their code and instruct those who saw this symbol to be quiet and not to disturb them.

Stan Richards describes "Keep quiet (Warns of day sleepers, babies)."

Henry Dreyfuss describes "Keep Quiet"
2 diamondsOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[quiet, do not disturb, day sleeper, baby]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #42

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #36
Keep Out2 diamondsTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #1

[warning, danger, direction, travel]

R - back to top ↑

Railroad

Terry Fox describes "Good Place To Hop A Train"
rectangle, circles, train, car, truckGeneric Internet
[catch, train, jump, car]

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #21

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #118

Travel Money Paidrectangle, circles, train, car, truckThe Havre Herald - 1908
[catch, train, jump, car, beg]
Railroad Men Look
The Other Way
Rail workers and railroad police could be some of the cruelest and roughest of the people who hobos would run into.
There were however sections of rail that rail police didn’t care and ignored hobos or would allow infractions in exchange for money or stolen valuables.
Cross, eyes, bugs, Letter ROwlcation - All Things Hobo
[catch, train, jump, car, bull, police]
Railroad Bull
Good Fellow
There is a railorad detective here,
but he is a "good fellow"
cross, eyes, letter x, letter tA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[cops, police, bulls, officials]
Railroad Bull
Hostile
There is a "strictly hostile"
railroad detective here. Look out!
cross, eyes, letter x, letter tA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[cops, police, bulls, officials]
Good Bulls
Treat hoboes right.
(Railroad police don't hassle hobos here)
hand, fingers, thumbJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[catch, train, jump, car, bull, police]
Religious
but tidy on the whole.
Letter BJuniata Sentinel - 1877
[church, religion, cross]
Church Town
This is a "church" town.
hands, Letter T, pray, linesA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[church, religion, cross]
Church or Religious People
This symbol could be both bad and good. A compassionate group of religious people would be a welcome find even if it meant
being subject to a harsh sermon or message. On the other hand, it could become a hardship for strict pious congregations who
viewed hobos as the result of sin.
Letter O, Number 8, circle, crossOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[church, religion, cross]
PiousLetter SBrenham Weekly Banner - 1879
[church, religion, cross]
Religious Talk for Food

Stan Richards describes "A religious talk here will get you a free meal."

Terry Fox describes "Be Religious"

Henry Dreyfuss describes "Religious talk gets free meal"

Dan Beard describes "Be Good!" and also
"Give them a religious talk and they will give you food."
Cross, Letter TGeneric Internet
[food, talk, religion, religious]

See also - New-York Tribune - 1921

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #2

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #42

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #29

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #36

Talk Religion
A cross within a circle suggests a proper line of procedure to him who tramps and reads.
It tells the nomad to go to the house and be a humble-minded sinner of a deep religious turn and speak of holy things,
and assures him that such hypocrisy will be well repaid by the really pious people within.
Cross, Letter TEvening Star - 1894
[food, talk, religion, religious]
Turn Right Here
Circle, Line, crescent, Letter OGeneric Internet
[right, direction, travel]
Good Road To Follow
When leaving the path of the rails, a symbol like this could save unnecessary and
unproductive routes by telling a hobo that a road or trail was a good choice and presenting opportunity.
Letter O, Circle, Line, NotOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[good, road, direction, travel]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #1

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #5
Worth Robbing
(Yeggs)
Letter O, Circle, Line, NotGeneric Internet
[robbing, thief, steal, yeggs]
Worth Robbing
Letter O, Circle, Line, NotSee also - The Spokane Press - 1910
[robbing, thief, steal, yeggs]
Worth While
Letter O, Circle, Line, Not

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #75

[robbing, thief, steal, yeggs]
Crib Easy To Crack
Careless People
Letter O, Circle, Line, NotThe Sun - 1879
[robbing, thief, steal, yeggs]

S - back to top ↑

Six Months
6 months here
numbers, 6, number 6, letter GJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[jail, prison, sentences, official, police]
Ten Days
10 days here
numbers, 10, number 1, number 0, Letter I, Letter OJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[jail, prison, sentences, official, police]
One Poor ManLetter I, Letter O, zero, circle, lineThe Inter-mountain Farmer and Ranchman - 1902
[poor, man, money]
Thirty Days
30 days if pinched
numbers, 30, number 30Jeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[jail, prison, sentences, official, police]
Anything Goes
The Skys The Limit
Pretty much get whatever you ask for here.

Henry Dreyfuss describes "The sky is the limit"
Two Vertical LinesGeneric Internet
[story, beg, handout, pitiful, con]

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #42
Anything Goes
Everything is easy
Two Vertical LinesBrenham Weekly Banner - 1879
[story, beg, handout, pitiful, con]

See also - The Sun - 1879
Good Place To Sleep
This sign would guide the weary hobo in finding shelter that provided an element of protection or warmth.
A barn, a bridge covering, or abandoned buildings were prime places.
bowl, crescent, half circle, Letter UOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[camp, jungle, safe, sleep]
Occupants Might Give In
A half circle says that the occupants might give in.
[France 1921]
bowl, crescent, half circle, Letter UNew-York Tribune - 1921
[food, beg]
Softhearted Man
(feather)
A rough representation of a feather indicates the occupant of the house
is a soft hearted man unable to refuse solicitation.
feather, Lines, Letter INew Ulm Review - 1893
[kind, man, beg, story]
Straight AheadCircle, Line, Letter OGeneric Internet
[straight, direction, travel]
Stake
good town to work in to get a stake.
Letter S, curvyJeff Davis Explains Hobo Secret Code - 1922
[stake, work, town, money]
Main Street
OK for Alms
This town's main street is all right for soliciting.
Letter T, hashmark, fence, lines, Letter O, Letter K, OKA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[direction, travel]
Stay Off Of Main Street
Don’t be seen, stick to the side streets and alleys.
Move on quickly or avoid this town all together.
Letter T, bow tie, hour glass, triangls, linesOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[direction, travel, warning, danger, safety]
Stay Off Main Street
This town's main street is no account for collecting alms.
Letter T, hashmark, fence, lines, Letter X, Letter IA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[direction, travel, warning, danger, safety]
Stop
If you have what they want they will buy
They are pretty "fly" (knowingly)
question mark, dotJuniata Sentinel - 1877
[stop, direction, travel, sell]
Stop
Halt
Half Circle, Cross, hump, PlusGeneric Internet
[stop, direction, travel]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #37

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #29

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #8

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #34

Keep GoingHalf Circle, Cross, hump, PlusTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #52


[stop, direction, travel]
Tell A Hard Luck Story HereLetter M, LinesGeneric Internet
[story, hardluck, pitiful, con]
Sob Your Story
Six little circles enclosed in a large one is a tip for the tramp to sob out his tale.
circles, Letter O, coinsThe Caucasian - 1911
[story, hardluck, pitiful, con]
Tell Pitiful Story
to get handout.
Triangles, conesGeneric Internet
[story, kind, lady, worman, pitiful, story, con]

T - back to top ↑

Thieves Here
Beware Thieves About
Keep your two eyes on “his” ten fingers.
Finding this sign at a hobo camp or a meeting spot indicated that theft was suspected among them.
Keep any of your belongings close to you at all times especially while sleeping.

Stan Richards describes "There are thieves about."

Henry Dreyfuss describes "There are thieves about"

Dan Beard describes "Watch Out For Thieves"

SSoIH Note: The meaning behind this is:
Keep your 2 eyes on the 10 fingers of the pickpockets." (see sign below).
Number 2, Number 10, LineOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[thieves, warning, thief]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #45

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #54

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #47

There Are Thieves About
Dan Beard describes "A sign of caution, to let you know that thieves are among you. Keep your eyes on the ten fingers of the pickpockets. (Old English Shopkeepers Sign)
circle, angle, lines, Letter V

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #46

[thieves, warning, thief]
Good place to catch a train
A big part of a hobos travels revolved around the rails. This symbol provided the information especially valuable
to less experienced hobos as to where to safely “hop” a ride.
Train, circles, lines, rectangle, squareOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[catch, train, jump, car]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #34

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #44
TrampsTriangle, YieldGeneric Internet
[tramps, hoboes, bums]
An Ill-Tempered Man Lives Here
Stan Richards describes "An ill-tempered man lives here. Danger.

Henry Dreyfuss describes "Ill-Tempered Man Lives Here"
Circle, Square, DotsStan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #39
[man, bad, temper]

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #18
Dangerous Man Lives Here
Hobos avoided conflict as much as possible. This symbol served as a warning
to avoid a home known for criminal or violent behavior.
Police were not going to assist a hobo in the event of a confrontation.
Circle, Square, DotsOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[man, bad, temper]
Bad Tempered OwnerRectangle, wavy lines, zigzag, Letter MGeneric Internet
[man, owner, bad, temper]
Tough Town
This is a tough place.
Look out for hoodlums.
oval, circle, Letter T, mouth, teeth, breadA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[church, religion, cross]
TrolleyRectangle, Square, circles, lines, train, car, truck, wagonGeneric Internet
[catch, train, jump, car, trolley]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #26

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #36

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #119

Trolley StopRectangle, Square, circles, lines, train, car, truck, wagonHenry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #43

[catch, train, jump, car, trolley]
Free Telephone
or Alarm
bird, chicken, crowGeneric Internet
[free phone, telephone, alarm]

See also - The Spokane Press - 1910
Telephone Here
As rare as they were, if an event occurred that required calling “back home”
or a phone call could lead to an opportunity, it was good to know where they were located.
bird, chicken, crowOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[free phone, telephone, alarm]
Free Telephone
A picture of a bird tells of a free telephone.
bird, chicken, crow

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #16
[free phone, telephone, alarm]
Free Telephonebird, chicken, crow

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #32

[free phone, telephone, alarm]
Telephonebird, chicken, crow

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #11
[free phone, telephone, alarm]
Telephonebird, chicken, crow

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #117

[free phone, telephone, alarm]
Hold Your Tongue
In some towns, a hobo would generally be ignored unless he brought notice to himself by verbally responding to rude comments.
If you came across this sign, it told you that you were better off not engaging in conversations.

Henry Dreyfuss describes "Hold your tongue"
Diamond, Line, angleOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[hold, tongue, quiet]

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #32

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #37
Hold Your Tongue

Dan Beard illustrates a perfect diamond shape.
Diamond, Line, angleStan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #35

[hold, tongue, quiet]

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #35

U - back to top ↑

Unknown
Similar to "poor man" and also "poor people live here" also the symbol used for water
[Paris, France 1912]
wavy, linesNew York Tribune - 1912
[french, unknown, water, poor]
Unknown
[Paris, France 1912]
cross, letter tNew York Tribune - 1912
[french, unknown]
Unknown
Similar to "Kind Woman"
[Paris, France 1912]
triangles, lines, letter vNew York Tribune - 1912
[french, unknown, kind, woman, lady]

See also - New-York Tribune - 1921
Unknown
Similar to "Policewoman Lives Here"
[Paris, France 1912]
cross, letter tNew York Tribune - 1912
[french, unknown, police, official]
Unknown
Similar to "Food For Work"
[Paris, France 1912]
cross, letter x, angle, letter hNew York Tribune - 1912
[french, unknown, work, food]
Unknown
Similar to "Stop" or "Halt"
[Paris, France 1912]
Half Circle, Cross, hump, PlusNew York Tribune - 1912
[french, unknown, stop, direction, travel]
Unknown
[Paris, France 1912]
triangle, lines, letter vNew York Tribune - 1912
[french, unknown, direction, travel]
Unknown
[Paris, France 1912]
triangle, square, lines, letter vNew York Tribune - 1912
[french, unknown, direction, travel]
Unknown
[Paris, France 1912]
hand, fingers, thumb, pinchNew York Tribune - 1912
[french, unknown]
Unknown
[Paris, France 1912]
hand, fingers, thumb, pinchNew York Tribune - 1912
[french, unknown]
Unsafe Placehashtag, hashmark, fence, linesGeneric Internet
[unsafe, warning, direction, travel]
Not Safe For Strangershashtag, hashmark, fence, linesTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #6


[unsafe, warning, direction, travel]
Unsafe Area

Stan Richards describes "This is not a safe place."

Henry Dreyfuss describes "This is not a safe place"
3 vertical linesGeneric Internet
[unsafe, warning, direction, travel]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #9

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #45

V - back to top ↑

Very GoodCircles, Letter O, doughnut, tire, wheelGeneric Internet
[good]

Terry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #25

W - back to top ↑

Bad Water
Don’t drink the water here, it will make you sick. Sanitary conditions and poor waste disposal
into streams and other bodies of water were poorly regulated and this symbol gave warning to all.
wavy line, linesOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[bad, water, warning]
Bad Water

Stan Richards describes "Dangerous drinking water."

Henry Dreyfuss describes "Dangerous drinking water."

Dan Beard describes "Dangerous drinking water."
wavy line, lines, rectangle, dot, squareGeneric Internet
[bad, water, warning]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #19

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #15

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #142

Bad Waterwavy line, lines, rectangle, dot, squareGeneric Internet
[bad, water, warning]
Rich But Charitabletriangle, pizza, lines, dots, angleThe Great Falls Leader - 1889
[rich, wealthy, money]
Wealthy

Stan Richards describes (A silk hat and a pile of gold). These people are rich.
Triangle, hat, derbyGeneric Internet

[gentleman, wealthy, money]
Wealth

Henry Dreyfuss describes "These People Are Rich"

Dan Beard describes "Silk hat and a pile of gold, mean wealth, plenty."
Triangle, hat, derbyTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #3

[gentleman, wealthy, money]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #3

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #24

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #73

Generous Donor
The much prized symbol of a bicycle points out the house of a generous donor
who will give help on the road to the interloper.
[Paris, France 1912]
bike, bicycle, circles, linesNew York Tribune - 1912
[help, wealthy, money]
Went This Way
We have gone in the direction of the longest line.
[Paris, France 1912]
Arrows, NameNew York Tribune - 1912
[french, go, way, direction, travel]
I Went This Way
Red went that direction
If two hobos agreed to meet up down the road, the hobo who got there first would leave a message symbol that showed
his moniker (his road name), and that he would be waiting in the next closest town.
Arrows, Name, directionOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[go, way, direction, travel]
I Went This Way
ANo1 went that direction
A tramp's complete "monicker" showing his road name, the date and direction of his travel.
Arrows, Name, directionA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[go, way, direction, travel]
I'm Waiting At Next Town
Red is waiting at next town or stop.
If two hobos agreed to meet up further down the road, the one who got there first would leave a message symbol that showed his
moniker (his road name), and that he would be waiting in the next closest town.
Arrows, NameOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[go, way, direction, travel]
The tramp indicates that he is still in town waiting
for the party whose name is written below the sign.
Arrows, Name, directionA Philosophy of Tramping Leon Ray Livingston. ANo1, The Rambler
[go, way, direction, travel]
Window OpenHouse, Rectangles, squares, ladders, stairsThe Great Falls Leader - 1889
[house, rob, thief, thieves]
Kind Woman
An angel lives here.
Letter X, Letter O, Letter I, circle, lines, number 1News Article - 1917
[kind, lady, woman, angel]
Kindhearted Lady -
Also, kind woman or kind lady lives here.
Hobos who found or left this mark could rely on a bite to eat with nothing expected in return.
These women were generally the welcoming “mothering” type of individuals who found great compassion for respectful hobos.

Henry Dreyfuss describes "Kind Lady Lives Here"
cat, animalOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[kind, lady, woman]

See also - The Spokane Press - 1910

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #25
Kind Old Lady
A picture of a cat tells of a kind old lady.
cat, animal

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #23
[kind, lady, woman]
Kindhearted Woman Lives Herecat, animalTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #17

[kind, lady, woman]
Kind Good Womancat, animal

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #70

[kind, lady, woman]
Kind Woman Lives Here
a good hard-luck story will work wonders with the kind lady who lives here.
check mark, triangles, lines, angleThe Tacoma Times - 1911
[kind, lady, woman, story, beg]

See also - New-York Tribune - 1921

See also - The Havre Herald - 1908

See also - The Kendrick Gazette - 1909
Kind Womansnowman, triangles, Number 8Generic Internet
[kind, lady, woman]
Generous Woman
No house so decorated is ever passed by a tramp.
He goes in with an assured 'front' and gets without surprise a
sumptuous meal or a gift of money. These things are no more
than he had expected. for the sign upon the wall had told him
that a woman, not a man occupied the house, and that this
woman was both rich and generous.
hourglass, man, woman, lines, diamond, triangleSee also - The Inter-mountain Farmer and Ranchman - 1902
[kind, lady, woman, wealth, beg]
Woman Alone With Child
A large triangle with two small ones means "Woman alone with child or servant"...
[France 1921]
triangles, linesNew-York Tribune - 1921
[kind, lady, woman]
Kind woman lives here tell a pitiful story

Stan Richards describes "A kindhearted woman lives here.
(The triangles mean: Tell a pitiful story.)"

Henry Dreyfuss describes "Kind woman, tell pitiful story"
Triangles, cross, circleGeneric Internet
[kind, lady, woman, story, con]

Stan Richards - Hobo Signs - Sign #48

Henry Dreyfuss - Symbol Sourcebook - Sign #26
Tell A Sad Story

Dan Beard describes "Tell Your Story"
Triangles, cross, linesTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #18

[kind, lady, woman, story, con]

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #40

Tell a pitiful story
Experienced hobos with a bit of acting skills could easily manipulate potential marks by telling
a hard luck story or assuming a pitiful look. This worked especially well for
child, female, and teen hobos.
Triangles, cross, circleOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[kind, lady, woman, story, con]
Stop, Wife Is Home
Symbol for Woman / Female.
person, circle, cross, letter DThe Havre Herald - 1908
[kind, lady, woman, story, con]

See also - The Inter-mountain Farmer and Ranchman - 1902
Womanperson, man, woman, snowman, circle, square, cross, plus

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #99

[kind, lady, woman]
Womanperson, man, woman, snowman, circle, square, cross, plusTerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #43

[kind, lady, woman]
Lonely Woman
The clumsy drawing of a woman graphically explains that a lonely woman lives there
- so much the worse for her.
[Paris, France 1912]
person, man, woman, snowman, circle, squareNew York Tribune - 1912
[french, lonely, kind, lady, woman, story, con]
Widow Hereperson, man, woman, figureThe Great Falls Leader - 1889
[kind, lady, woman, story, con]
Three Men HereRectangle, lines, circle, triangle, man, womanThe Great Falls Leader - 1889
[man, men, home]
Three Women HereRectangle, lines, circle, triangle, man, womanThe Great Falls Leader - 1889
[woman, women, home]
Work Hard For What You Get
The X meaning work
the 2nd symbol means "this is the place (here).
goal post, square, rectangle, lines, Letter XThe Tacoma Times - 1911
[food, work]

See also - Perrysburg Journal - 1909

See also - The Kendrick Gazette - 1909

See also - The Inter-mountain Farmer and Ranchman - 1902
Will Make You Work Heresawhorse, drouble cross, letter x, LinesThe Great Falls Leader - 1889
[labor, work]

See also - The Daily Morning Journal - 1902

See also - The Inter-mountain Farmer and Ranchman - 1902

See also - New Ulm Review - 1893
Ask For Work HereShovels, Letter D, LinesThe Great Falls Leader - 1889
[labor, work]
Work AvailableShovels, Letter D, LinesGeneric Internet
[labor, work]
Money Here
Working for food kept the belly full but there was also a need for money for other of life’s necessities
including a “nip” from time to time. This symbol provided a clue to the hot spots. Work for money was always welcome for a hobo who was trying to break free.
Shovels, Letter D, LinesOwlcation - All Things Hobo
[labor, work]
Lawn To Clean
the likeness of an inverted comb in a circle gives warning that work on a trashy yard may be offered
grass, lines, circleThe Caucasian - 1911
[labor, work]

X - back to top ↑

Two Children, Four Men
And Three Women Passed This Way

Dan Beard describes "Tells what or who whet this way."

See also the Who Went Where signs page
wave, wavy, lines, Letter O, Letter ITerry Fox - Hobo Signs - Sign #35

[direction, travel, warning, danger, safety]

Dan Beard - The American Boys' Book of Signs Signals and Symbols - 1918 - Sign #12

Y - back to top ↑

Z - back to top ↑



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